Download
HTML Embed
HTML EMBED
Click to Copy

Latest Episodes

Download
HTML Embed
HTML EMBED
Click to Copy
Corner Office from Marketplace
Download
HTML Embed
HTML EMBED
Click to Copy
Marketplace Morning Report
Download
HTML Embed
HTML EMBED
Click to Copy
Marketplace Morning Report
Download
HTML Embed
HTML EMBED
Click to Copy
Marketplace Morning Report
Download
HTML Embed
HTML EMBED
Click to Copy
Marketplace Tech
Download
HTML Embed
HTML EMBED
Click to Copy
Download
HTML Embed
HTML EMBED
Click to Copy
Make Me Smart with Kai and Molly
Download
HTML Embed
HTML EMBED
Click to Copy
Marketplace Morning Report
Download
HTML Embed
HTML EMBED
Click to Copy
Marketplace Morning Report
Download
HTML Embed
HTML EMBED
Click to Copy
Marketplace Morning Report
The Breakdown: Economy

Health care spending has slowed, but reforms still needed

John Dimsdale Aug 17, 2011
Share Now on:
HTML EMBED:
COPY

HOST: Well one of the big things we consumers spend money on is health care. Spending on doctors, medicines, hospitals and insurance claims a quarter of the country’s GDP. As we continue our special coverage
Breakdown: Our economy one step at a time.

Marketplace’s John Dimsdale reports on the effect the slow economic recovery is having on health care spending.


JOHN DIMSDALE: The phenomenal rise in health care spending has tapered off over the past couple years. Seems like a good thing, right?

Jerry Jasinowski, who used to be president of the National Association of Manufacturers, says not necessarily.

JERRY JASINOWSKI: Some companies have reduced their health costs, but that’s only because they’ve hired less because they were uncertain about the recovery.

Uncertainty that’s also forcing companies to delay reforms of health benefits, like offering workers incentives for preventive care. But as workers lose jobs and drop out of employer-provided insurance, governments have to pick up the slack.

JUDY FEDER: States face a double whammy when the economy is bad, in that more people need Medicaid and they have fewer resources to provide it.

Judy Feder is a Georgetown University health care professor. She says thanks to reforms, government health care spending has become more efficient.

FEDER: Medicare is doing its job to slow cost growth. And we need to extend that kind of efficiency to the rest of the system, meaning private health care spending.

There’s another silver lining from the focus on government austerity.

Princeton health economist Uwe Reinhardt says it allows Congress to say no to powerful lobbyists — like hospitals, doctors and drug makers.

UWE REINHARDT: Congress now probably has a lot more spine to say: “Look, we’d like to help you folks, but look at this deficit. We gotta think of the future and then our kids.”

Reinhardt says resisting what he calls the “K Street insurgents” will go a long way to bring down health care’s drag on the economy.

In Washington, I’m John Dimsdale for Marketplace.

If you’re a member of your local public radio station, we thank you — because your support helps those stations keep programs like Marketplace on the air.  But for Marketplace to continue to grow, we need additional investment from those who care most about what we do: superfans like you.

Your donation — as little as $5 — helps us create more content that matters to you and your community, and to reach more people where they are – whether that’s radio, podcasts or online.

When you contribute directly to Marketplace, you become a partner in that mission: someone who understands that when we all get smarter, everybody wins.

Make a good investment!

Looking for a great deal?
Get ALL THREE of our new thank-you gifts when you donate $120.

This is a limited time offer – so act soon!